Sunday, August 28, 2011

This is a Hard Step to Take, but Here I go

As you may know from the title of the blog, I am a


This is not something new or willy nilly, but it is a
product of a choice made over 15 years ago as a
fairly young girl.

I have always grieved over animals being mistreated,
but moreover, I've always found the idea that one
must die for me to satisfy my palate too much to
personally tolerate for myself.

People say to me, "Oh, I could never give up
meat. I love it too much."

I believe if most had to raise and care for
the animals they consume: feeding them and slaughtering them
once the time came, that would create a change.

The real statement is that, "As long as I
do not have to see the animal, kill it
or know anything about its history, I
love meat too much to give up."


But I digress. . .

If people are going to continue as
meat eaters, and I do believe for many reasons, this
likely the only way the world can go 'round,
they should make efforts
to visit the places the meat comes from,
see the animals are treated well and see
that the slaughter process is as humane
as possible.

Few do this, and fewer still will take the
next step and raise their meals (livestock)

So many so-called meat eaters shriek
in horror at the concept of raising a
pig, steer, goat, chicken, rabbit or
lamb themselves to eat.

I cannot tell you how many
animal lovers that eat factory
farmed cows, chickens and pigs
will give me a look of utter disgust
when I suggest maybe, if they have
the room, they ought tackle to food
process on their own.

Somehow they, in their ignorant minds,
find this unsanitary and inhumane.

Instead, they prefer:

This above, they tell me, without realizing it,
is the way meat should be raised.
You see, on factory farms and in the supermarket,
cattle do not exist - they are steak and burger.

Only when animals are known, petted and cared for, seen alive do they
have to be faced with what they are eating. They are then
NOT steak or bacon or burger .

So the above is normal, humane and accepted.

In the American mind, the family farm setting makes animals
too alive, and in fact, that is true. They are more alive, aren't

There is aorganization, The Gentle Barn, and
they take in abused farm animals. On their facebook page
I recently found a comment that read, " kill what you
eat movement..that dreadful trend." I imagine
that woman, like most with that mind set, eats meat
or animal products from factory farming and feel all the more
righteous for it.

Idealism is not something I can embrace too often.
When it comes to vegetarianism, I do not have any hope
that suddenly my family and friends will feel about it as
I do. That is not realistic, but I do believe many people
can be shown that the way they are eating is not humane
and that they have a realistic alternative.

Of course, you will have those that do not care, those that
say it is too time consuming, too expensive and never look
further into it. In a small way, all change is initially said to
be too hard, that it will take too long and cost too much.

Think back on the pre Civil War era and the arguments about
why slavery could not be abolished. Consider the costs of
improving the lives of human beings in Poverty stricken
India and Africa. The hope that people will consider and
follow a significantly kinder path than the one they have been walking
is not idealism or if it is, we are lost already 

The purpose to this blog, as off track as it became, was
to show how hard these steps are, even for me, a person
quite aware of the truth of Big AG. farming, a person very
aware of the kinder route.

Tuesday we make a 4.5 hour drive to pick up our first Dual
purpose Dexter heifer, Anya.

Anya is bred for a summer calf, and if the calf is a bull - in time -
he will be the first steer we will raise for food.

A huge part of me is very afraid of all of this. All cattle, pigs, poultry,
goats and sheep are just that to me. They aren't packaged meat in
my mind, but I will not sit by with my idealistic thoughts and allow
my family to consume factory livestock at the expense of my ideals.

So as hard as this will be for me, I assure you, when the time comes,
I will do the right thing and assure that what my family eats -
when at all possible - comes from a quality existence of pasture,
mountains, clean water, kindness and the utmost care -

Until such a time as may never come and animals need not be
raised for food, I will absolutely push the idea of local, humane
farming, that you go out and meet the animals that will become
your family's meal and encourage people to educate themselves

on where all of their food comes from.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In West Virginia we Remain

We have been looking online for a few farms to view
 because it has been on our minds to move
this operation over into a more farm friendly state.

Sadly, West Virginia is not very farm friendly.
It is also not very homeschool friendly.
It isn't raw milk friendly. The land
isn't conducive it farming unless
you're very wealthy or born into
a family that owns some of the hard
to come by farm land.

We took a drive today to Winchester
and Richmond, Kentucky. Beautiful
land. But as I've found typically
is true of real estate, nothing look
half as nice in person as it does in the
perfectly framed photos from just the right

If you have 500k to spend, that is THE place
to buy farm land. I believe a nice market can
be found for local, sustainable and humane
products, too!

We do not have half a million dollars to spend,
so for now, we will Remain here in West Virginia.

Since we will be here awhile longer, we did get the area that
slipped a year and half ago around our barn repaired. $4,500
later, both the barn, hill and behind our house is repaired.


We still need to sow grass in the next few days.

We are changing some fence around here because we have really
nearly outgrown the farm we have, and we are going to have to
do more rotation here if we want to keep everything nice
and green through fall.

We have 18 goats, 1 heifer and a 1 on the way, 7 horses,
1 miniature horse and 2 miniature donkey here, in addition
to 30 plus hens and roosters. Technically, on 23 acres, we
are still within the ACREAGE to animal unit formula,
thank GOD, but we need to be sure to manage this land
well to assure future use.

A useful tool is the Animal Unit method. Each animal
unit is 1,000 lbs of animal, be it goats, cattle, horses,
chickens and so forth.

Typically, 2% of the animals body weight is needed
in food, mostly forage, daily. This is the amount
needed for maintenance.

I estimate we have a bit less than 11 animal
units here, so that is 220 lbs of food daily
being consumed.

We do not have enough pasture to support that
here because of the wooded acres, but we
always provide hay free choice. While
this isn't ideal in terms of financial
matters, it helps offset the amount of
forage we need to produce here.

 We have weeds taking over the pasture in the front
and on the 8 acre pasture above the house. This is
something we will address this fall.

Lots of work needed around here, to say the least.

So far, everything is thriving, and we have gotten
a lot done this summer. Since we have ideas
of a move, we've let a few things go, but I see
now it is best to move forward assuming we will
be here for the long haul!

As an aside, we have
Animal Welfare Approved coming out
to inspect and see how we might become
an approved farm through their organization
in September.

I am not sure how this will go because we do
not agree with everything listed on the care
sites per species, but we do have similar goals
and goodness knows, we have the high
standards of care here.

So for now, from all of us to all of you. . .

Stand by, in West Virginia we Remain. . .

For now ;)



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington